Hi there. My name is Vito Martinez. Mom chose to name me after a Catholic saint, as is the Mexican custom. Mom has always fought for the poor, the underprivileged, and the needy. It's no surprise that many of her traits have passed on to me.
Since October of 2006, I've recognized a calling towards a religious life. I don't know exactly where that calling will lead, but I've done my best to follow it. In that time, I've worked to combine the "me" that is the average guy - plays video games, eats out every night, likes to see a woman in a skirt, talks smack with his friends - with the "me" that has grown in the past year - wakes up early to go to church, says his prayers in the morning and the evening, works to help those in need, willing to give up everything to follow God's plan.
Sometimes the two sides don't get along.
I find talking about my discernment hard for others to comprehend. Some don't understand why someone would give up sex, money, and success to live a "poor and lonely" life. Others feel put off, not knowing how to address me anymore. "Can I still swear around you?" is a common question i hear. It's hard to explain that calling to someone. "Maybe you just need to go to church more. Why do you need to be a priest?" is another one I've heard.
My journey started out as a free fall into an abyss. I was living with a woman who was married to another man. We didn't save money; we lived as hedonists. We told each other we were Christians, but neither of us went to church.
Somewhere along the way, I realized that there were more important things in life. Instead of just arguing about mundane things on the internet, I started reading Aquinas and Origen. While I learned the arguments for Christianity and Catholicism; I learned what it truly meant to be Catholic. At some point, I felt what some describe as the Holy Spirit entering the body. It was this beautiful moment of clarity. I was this explosion in my soul that simply said: "This is not where you should be." I saw a site about the seminary, and it all just made perfect sense.
My girlfriend and I broke up soon after; she refused to believe that someone like me could ever be a priest. It's funny...on some level I want to make up for that mistake and show her that yes, I could be a priest. Even after I gave her all my stuff and paid for all the bills and back rent, I doubt it will ever be enough.
I work two jobs: a car salesman and a poker dealer. In a way, they're the perfect jobs for a prospective priest. I spend all my time with people. I handle conflicts, differences of opinions, and listen to people's problems. I sell cars to people with bad or no credit, and I deal poker for a charitable gaming company. In a way, each job is based in the idea of helping people, and both sides of "me" are fulfilled.
I've spoke with the Dominicans, Capuchins, Benedictines, and my local Diocese. All have asked me to pay off all personal debt and require two years of celibacy before they will consider me for candidacy. That's still a year and a half away, but I can understand the need for those guidelines.
Until then, I'm hoping to find my way on this crazy journey. Struggles, fears, joys, and surprises lie ahead; this blog is my chronicle of that journey.